For all its faults I had a pretty big soft spot for Morrowind, the game that was the precursor to Skyrim and recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary, presumably with some Nords over a bottle of mead and a Mudcrab pie.
The combat might have been about as satisfying as wanking yourself off to an episode of Footballers Wives but at its heart it gave a masterclass in immersive gameplay.
You begin the game with no memory or past and are thrust into the middle of a large imaginative world and left alone to discover the creatures, the peaceful fishing villages and the plague ravaged towns.
Skyrim by comparison has a dramatically improved combat system but fails to be anything like the same immersive experience. While technically an open-world game you are never really taken off the leash and allowed to explore it.
First of all you spend the entire game being told to go somewhere which makes your character feel like something of a gimp.
To make things slightly more annoying while you are 'exploring' you will see several hundred little indicators appear on your compass all clamouring for your attention and shouting:
“Walk this way! There’s something of minor interest over here!”
It’s rather tiring.
In fact the game more accurately replicates the subtle stresses of doing the Christmas shopping as opposed to the wonder of discovering an imaginative fantasy world.
And once the gameplay becomes established as walking to your destination knowing that little else of interest is going to appear because your compass isn’t telling you anything then the game becomes largely about staring at your compass.
See that interesting looking abandoned hut up on the hill over there? Yes. Is it marked on the compass? No. Well in that case it’s empty. Move on.
And just remind me how in a fantasy world my compass is telling me all this anyway? Is it hooked up to my I-phone or something?
Why am I carrying this wooden shield and club again?
To top it all off the quests in Skyrim are just fucking tedious.
You will for example, be expected to travel to the other side of the map to drop off a pie for someone to eat for their dinner. I can’t remember if that specific quest was in there but it is a measure of the game’s blandness that I suspect nobody who’s played the game would either.
If I wanted to simulatenously experience mundanity and altruism then I could just ring my friends and ask if they want anything from the supermarket. (You don’t have any friends yes I do shut up).
Playing Morrowind I spent the entire game trying to work out who I was and what the hell was going on. As this mirrors my attitude towards reality I rather came to empathise with my on screen avatar.
Skyrim by comparison constantly waves its disjointed, dull and uninspired storylines in your face like they’re manuscripts from Dostoevsky, initially by thrusting you into the execution of a rebel leader, a civil war between two slightly different types of cunts and a returning race of dragons before you’ve even picked up the gamepad.
What’s wrong with a bit of foreplay? Maybe I want to build up to my orgasm rather than just do an orgasm right now.
Now hold me as I play this. Do I go right or left here? It doesn’t matter. Oh that’s nice. Wow what’s that up there? It’s a church! I wonder what’s in there?
Yes okay Morrowind that’s lovely thanks but I’ve got to try Skyrim now – its jumping up and down shouting about how it’s got 200 churches I can see at any one time.